Black Mormons hope priesthood anniversary helps members 'Be One'

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  • Mick , 00
    June 2, 2018 12:56 p.m.

    Strom and Illuminated-

    I am sure you would have had problems with Moses when he led the church and the children of Israel. Only the Levites were allowed to participate in priesthood and temple ordinances.

    Perhaps you would have criticized the church when Christ was on the earth because he only taught the Jews. It wasn’t until after his death that the apostles took the gospel outside of Israel.

    As President Uchtdorf told us in conference a few years ago the restoration continues. All things weren’t restored in 1830. And if you remember, the early saints wanted and tried to live the law of consecration and failed miserably. They weren’t ready or prepared. Perhaps this is what happened for 150 years. The early members of the church weren’t ready or prepared to allow ALL people to participate in the church. This was a society problem as well. It’s hard for us to judge because we did not live in those times. But the people changed and prayed and wanted for this to happen as a whole. And finally society and the church and the people were ready to be accepting of all races.

    It’s easy for you to say, “ I would have never felt that way.” But you don’t really know.

  • UtahBlueDevil Alpine, UT
    June 2, 2018 5:12 a.m.

    "Either he was a false prophet or he was not. You can't really have it both ways."

    Sure you can. There has been only one who could be perfect that has walked n this earth, everyone else falls short. The scriptures are full of stories of "good men", people called to high offices and responsibility, that have at one point had their humanity make poor judgements for them. Moses was punished for disobeying God's demand. The 12 Apostles had doubt several times even though they walk with Christ himself.

    The current leadership of this Church from its restoration forward is no less human. And with that, they bring their prejudices, histories, and humanity with them. This is why we have always had the commandment to seek affirmation ourselves - to not be like sheep - but to purposely follow.

    Being a leader in this church is not a claim to perfection nor infallibility. Non-believers who try to use that as a "gotcha" simply don't have a clue to the meaning of the gospel, its message, and the reason for the atonement. And thats ok... they can believe as they like. Why they spend so much energy trying to destroy others beliefs? Who knows...

  • Spalding55 Placentia, CA
    June 2, 2018 1:33 a.m.

    @strom thurmond
    Joseph Smith interpreted the Pearl of Great Price. He also conferred the Priesthood to several African Americans. If he believed what was written in the Pearl of Priesthood included a ban of the Priesthood by God to African Americans, he would have taken away the Priesthood to those African Americans. He didn’t do this. One would assume that he didn’t believe a ban should be applied based on this doctrine.

    There has been doctrine that Prophets taught that the Church does not support today. Brigham Young taught what was called the Adam- God doctrine. Spencer W Kimball told his brethren the Church does not support this doctrine.

    One of the things that appealed to me when I was taught the gospel was having a living prophet that would guide us in the present, who can make changes to instruct and support the brethren when our Heavenly Father thought it was necessary, or change things that were not in sync with his gospel. I think that the proclamation in 1978 falls in the latter category.

  • sashabill Morgan Hill, CA
    June 1, 2018 10:21 p.m.

    When I first investigated the LDS Church in 1970-71, I brought up the issue of Blacks and the Priesthood. We didn't discuss it at great length, but I was satisfied that their was nothing inherent in Blacks which would permanently keep them from he Priesthood, and that they would one day receive it.
    Theories of inherent racial inferiority were widespread, almost pandemic, in 19th Century America. Even many abolitionists and anti-slavery advocates held attitudes which would be blatantly racist by current standards -- some even suggesting that former plantation owners should step in and serve as paternalistic "overseers" for former slaves. William Ellery Channing, noted liberal clergyman of the early 19th Century, and founding father of American Unitarianism, also held he same or similar attitudes.

  • David Young Sandy, UT
    June 1, 2018 7:55 p.m.

    As a high school student in the late 60's I worked the janitorial graveyard shift in the Tabernacle. About 3 months before I left the job I had to chance to become acquainted with a new security guard who was one of the first members from Nigeria to join the church.

    One of our few conversations was about how he found out about the church and why he joined. He told of finding a BofM in an apartment he'd moved into and was intrigued enough to inquire at the address found in the book. The information he received convinced him to join. It took special visits from and to missionaries in another country (I don't remember where) and quite a long time (more than a year as I vaguely recall) but he was determined and not only joined the church but eventually came to SLC to be closer to the prophet.

    He'd only been in the U.S. a few months and when I asked him about his experience of living here thus far he just said he was loving it but was occasionally home sick. He mentioned nothing about experiencing any racism or having any resentment about the then still extant policy about Blacks and the Priesthood.

    When the announcement came in 1978 one of my first joyful thoughts was of him.

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    June 1, 2018 6:30 p.m.

    @illuminated: "Sounds like the philosophy of men mingled with Scripture..."

    Which portions do you believe to be incorrect? Do you seek civil dialogue? Or merely to be disagreeable?

  • JBs Logan, UT
    June 1, 2018 3:27 p.m.

    I remember where I was and what I was doing when this change happened. What a beautiful day.

  • MaxPower Eagle Mountain, UT
    June 1, 2018 1:48 p.m.

    @Frozen Fractals

    That is the question! Joseph Smith ordained black men, then after slavery was legal in Utah the ban was placed.

    The First Presidency issued a statement calling it doctrine in 1949.

    Then within the last few years the Church has moved away from that.

    At least one group was not inspired and erred, or possibly both. But both cannot be correct. And for a Church that claims to be sole holder of the means of Salvation, it seems to be a bit confused.

  • Cinci Man FT MITCHELL, KY
    June 1, 2018 1:17 p.m.

    Strom, Illuminated and others don't hold themselves to the same standard they require of others. We all change as our knowledge increases. Some just won't admit that because of their agenda. I certainly change as I learn more.

  • Zulu Time Salt Lake City, UT
    June 1, 2018 1:07 p.m.

    The cessation of something that never should have happened is something to celebrate.

  • illuminated Kansas City, MO
    June 1, 2018 12:32 p.m.

    "The whole hath no need of a physician.
    Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.
    The purpose of the church is to help bad men be good and good men be better.
    Don't judge me because I sin differently than you do.
    Predjudice is an ugly, common sin among humanity. So too are lust, covetousness, anger, sloth, lack of faith, being judgemental, and a host of other ills common to the natural man."

    Sounds like the philosophy of men mingled with Scripture...

  • Frozen Fractals Salt Lake City, UT
    June 1, 2018 12:20 p.m.

    "The Church taught for several decades that the race was cursed for lack of faithfulness in the previous life. They have since disavowed and called these teachings false. "

    I think the lingering issue these days, since the church has ruled out the "explanations" people had for it like that is... was the priesthood ban correct to have during the period that it was in place?

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    June 1, 2018 11:23 a.m.

    @someguyaaron: "Sadly, there are prejudice people in The Church, it is so wrong! I consider these people, to be unworthy to be members!"

    The whole hath no need of a physician.

    Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

    The purpose of the church is to help bad men be good and good men be better.

    Don't judge me because I sin differently than you do.

    Predjudice is an ugly, common sin among humanity. So too are lust, covetousness, anger, sloth, lack of faith, being judgemental, and a host of other ills common to the natural man.

    Thank heaven My Lord is merciful.

  • FT salt lake city, UT
    June 1, 2018 11:00 a.m.

    The Mormon Church and religion are no different than others. All being created by man to worship and socialize. Prior to the revelation, the edict from the church represented the views of it's members and a lot of the public at large. The Mormon church, along with other religions will look considerably different decades from now.

  • I M LDS 2 Provo, UT
    June 1, 2018 10:53 a.m.

    "there is no reliable evidence that any black men were denied the priesthood during Joseph Smith's lifetime."

    That's supposed to make all the years of racism OK?

    This is not a history to be celebrated. It is an embarrassing history for the church!

  • utahmtnman Park City, UT
    June 1, 2018 10:26 a.m.

    The revelation was especially gratifying to me because I had been a missionary in Brazil where the vast majority of the population is a mix of American Indian, African, and European descent. It was difficult to distinguish who had the lineage of Cain and who did not. Across the ocean In Africa, entire tribes had been converted through the Book of Mormon. I feel what was happening in Brazil and Africa inspired President Kimball to wrestle with the issue. I don't doubt it was a revelation--given to correct an erroneous doctrine. It is heartening the Church is celebrating the revelation. Hopefully, it will help us overcome prejudices and embrace one another as equals, as brothers and sisters, because we are all children of God.

  • ECR Burke, VA
    June 1, 2018 10:22 a.m.

    strom thurmond - I believe if Brigham Young were alive today and heard your questioning whether or not he was a prophet he would be the first to tell you that above all else, he was a human, subject to the same prejudices that plague a good portion of the world, even today. And I feel certain that with the view he has from where he is today, he would admit that the policy was wrong.

  • MaxPower Eagle Mountain, UT
    June 1, 2018 10:21 a.m.


    The Church taught for several decades that the race was cursed for lack of faithfulness in the previous life. They have since disavowed and called these teachings false.

    A First Presidency message in 1949 states

    "The position of the Church regarding the Negro may be understood when another doctrine of the Church is kept in mind, namely, that the conduct of spirits in the premortal existence has some determining effect upon the conditions and circumstances under which these spirits take on mortality and that while the details of this principle have not been made known, the mortality is a privilege that is given to those who maintain their first estate; and that the worth of the privilege is so great that spirits are willing to come to earth and take on bodies no matter what the handicap may be as to the kind of bodies they are to secure; and that among the handicaps, failure of the right to enjoy in mortality the blessings of the priesthood is a handicap which spirits are willing to assume in order that they might come to earth. Under this principle there is no injustice whatsoever involved in this deprivation as to the holding of the priesthood by the Negroes. "

  • christoph Brigham City, UT
    June 1, 2018 10:13 a.m.

    Many college professors have pressure for being Christian today. I am not comparing it to racism, just that some professors in the 21st century have received persecution on multiple fronts, and they say their Christianity presents the greatest challenge. This will unite us. Others have said that secularism has already won the war with religion, it is just a matter of them mopping up after the confrontation.

  • illuminated Kansas City, MO
    June 1, 2018 10:01 a.m.

    @strom thurmond nails it.

    I am blown away by the historical whitewashing going on right now in the LDS Church. If you're saying that the doctrine on blacks and the Priesthood was wrong and "bigoted" from 1852 to 1978, then these men weren't prophets of God and this Church isn't true. Period. There is no getting around it.

    There wasn't a new revelation because we already had it the doctrine revealed in the book of Abraham in the Pearl of Great Price. These passages were repeatedly referenced as the official revelation on Priesthood restriction for blacks. They never, ever claimed it had anything to do with slavery or racism. To suggest that is to bear false witness against these good men. It's disgusting and shameful.

    This is just going to cause far more faithful members to question their Church. You can tell me that an offhand statement or hastily written thought by a high ranking LDS authority was a mistake. But you simply CANNOT tell me that between 10 to 12 prophets of LDS history just made a giant collective mistake for well over 100 years.

    These are prophets, seers and revelators who held the sole keys of Christ's Church on the Earth and this was revelation from God.

  • strom thurmond taylorsville, UT
    June 1, 2018 9:30 a.m.

    Was Brigham Young, and the rest of the leadership from 1852-1978, in apostasy?

    Either he was a false prophet or he was not. You can't really have it both ways.

    Harold B Lee, Mark Peterson, Joseph Fielding Smith, Bruce McConkie, and so many others, should be listed with Brigham Young, as they became the well from which mormons drew their beliefs in this regard.

    And I was taught in 2005 that the source of the priesthood ban was the pearl of great price, so it really is still believed by church-employed educators.

    Why restore a church in 1930, only to have to do a touch-up in 1978?

    If it was a revelation, why isn't it canonized as such, instead of it being a "declaration"?

    Is it because, like polygamy, it can't be recalled because god commanded it?

    These are all questions needing answer.

  • someguyaaron Parowan, UT
    June 1, 2018 9:16 a.m.

    On May 30th. I turned 69. I say that because I was born and raised by parents who knew no color.
    As a member of The LDS Church, I always believed that blacks should hold The Priesthood and was so happy when they could.
    Sadly, there are prejudice people in The Church, it is so wrong! I consider these people, to be unworthy to be members!
    I pray that this celebration brings welcome to all.
    I love you!

  • BlueHusky Mission Viejo, CA
    June 1, 2018 9:15 a.m.

    I left the Church partly due to the "Negro Policy". I was just out of high school, an undergrad at Washington while working swing shift at Boeing. There I worked side by side with blacks, many of whom became my friends. Something was wrong, and I drifted away from the Church. Later, on the faculty at Yale, my colleagues, finding out that I was a Mormon, denounced the Church, amazed that I was a Mormon though inactive. I defended Mormons, but couldn't defend the policy. So I read about it. An article in a BYU publication made the most sense: Brigham Young was interested in many things, among them science. At that time, scientific consensus was that there was a hierarchy of humanity, Europeans, of course, being white, were at the top, and dark-skinned people, aborigines, were at the bottom. At the same time, Christian churches were busy with justifying slavery: it was your "station" in life, ordained by God. Brigham Young was probably swayed by those 19th century pseudoscience and theological currents.

    The New Haven ward had black members. When President Kimball, announced the change. It was all over the news. We rejoiced with our black members. And still do.

  • 65TossPowerTrap Salmon, ID
    June 1, 2018 8:58 a.m.

    The essay does denounce the 'less valiant in the pre-earth life' false doctrine. However, the essay is somewhat hidden and has never been really been brought out in the open. The Church needs to more forcefully denounce all of the false doctrine that was taught regarding race and the Priesthood. There are too many old timers who still believe that stuff.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    June 1, 2018 8:21 a.m.

    The denial of the priesthood for black men was never divine guidance, true revelation, etc. It was a doctrine of men, driven by the sentiment of the times, which included overt racism, the dispute over slavery, and contemporary politics. What is disheartening is that it conflated into doctrine, albeit false, something that we have seen on other matters. Further, the policy directly violated a core belief of Mormons as stated by Joseph Smith in the Articles of Faith, that we are to be punished for our own sins and not those of others. The denial of the priesthood tied directly to a Biblical account of the actions of Cain. In the end, it is wisdom to scrutinize Church teachings and exercise ones right to personal revelation (which is itself a topic that ought to be openly discussed, but isn't really). In the end, skin color should never, ever be the grounds for being treated differently from others. After all, we are all humans and can procreate with one another regardless of skin color. Racism is a sign of ignorance and insecurity.

  • jalapenochomper albuquerque, NM
    June 1, 2018 7:48 a.m.

    This has me baffled. There must be a purpose to the celebration I simply do not understand. The modern LDS church has unusually terrific public relations, but this one seems like a miss.

    Why celebrate the end something that never should have happened in the first place? ESPECIALLY if we are not going to say 'this never should have happened'? I don't get it.

    Modern essays published by the Church come very close. Why not just follow the Mountain Meadows precedent, swallow the bitter pill, and admit leaders made mistakes while they were leaders? Not the first time - wont be the last. The Church will survive. I think our black brothers and sisters, especially in the US, need this. I need it. And we need it to fully extinguish every ridiculous 'less valiant in the pre-earth life' false teaching, forevermore.

  • Egyptian origins Salt Lake City, UT
    June 1, 2018 7:44 a.m.

    The environmental climate in the new US was one of discrimination & hatred toward Blacks. The same was the condition for the Native Indians who were pushed West for business expansion & profit. Along came the Book of Mormon which merges Native Indians w/Blacks w/the story of the Lamanites & Nephites, Ancient American inhabitants separated as being Black & White. The BoM theme is to get along & not harbor hatred & war. In 1804 Lewis & Clark met the Mandan Tribe in North Dakota w/Chief Big White. Promoting equality in the early 1800's posed a threat to business interests. According to Race and the Priesthood, Brigham Young is the one who denied Blacks the Priesthood in 1852. Sociologists have identified over 80 different Mormon splinter groups from Joseph's original Church. Interestingly the BoM also tells a story of the Zoromites where the rich segregated themselves from the poor, denying the poor in the Church that they built. The character Alma tells the poor they don't need a Church organization to worship God. Thus, Church is for man, not man for Church, something the LDS & the American Bible Society would do well to embrace as a philosophy, referring to yesterday's news story.

  • ECR Burke, VA
    June 1, 2018 7:28 a.m.

    As a fifth generation Mormon I remember when I first heard the news. Interestingly enough it was reported to our office by a fellow worker who was transgender black woman who heard it on the radio just before she arrived at the office. It was 1977 and we were in Salt Lake City so her situation was far more unique than it would be today. In a conversation about that day several years after it happened, a good friend put it this way, a way that I think is perfect, "It was my best day on the church because I no longer had to try to explain something I didn't understand."

    Some may continue to called it revelation but I prefer to think it was the courage of our prophet and those that serve him among the twelve, that finally made the difference as they courageously changed a bigoted policy that had hampered the growth of the church for over a hundred years. It was that courage that strengthened my belief in a religion that can admit that it is not perfect and continues to strive for perfection every day by recognizing truth and acting upon it, not always immediately, but eventually. And isn't that what we all do in our personal lives, or at least isn't it what we should be doing?

  • Rikitikitavi Cardston, Alberta
    June 1, 2018 7:23 a.m.

    I certainly remember where I was and who brought the news: at the gas station I managed in Citrus Heights, Ca and a H.S. student who worked for me was the bearer of the news.

    What a wonderful blessing! So greatful the revelation came. WE are all enriched as we have welcomed our brothers and sisters into the fold.

    I have read Keith N. Hamilton's account "Last Laborer" of his coming into the Church and of his boundless faith.

  • Den Den West Jordan, UT
    June 1, 2018 7:02 a.m.

    D&C 38:27
    Behold, this I have given unto you as a parable, and it is even as I am. I say unto you, be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine.

  • strom thurmond taylorsville, UT
    June 1, 2018 6:19 a.m.

    What’s the point of having prophets and apostles if they can be wrong for 126 years?

  • strom thurmond taylorsville, UT
    June 1, 2018 6:17 a.m.

    The sermons Mormon leaders taught, through the 1970s are not hazy or obscure.

    They believed black people were inferior and their skin was the result of their being less valiant before birth.

    This is undeniable. I was taught this as a youth, and I for one will not allow the church to whitewash it’s history.

  • Thomas Thompson Salt Lake City, UT
    June 1, 2018 5:01 a.m.

    I'd be willing to bet the farm that "White Mormons" are hoping for the same thing.

  • Yorkshire Logan, UT
    June 1, 2018 4:37 a.m.

    From article: "Occasionally some members still say really hurtful things about the faithfulness and capabilities (or lack thereof) of black members," even though the church's Race and the Priesthood essay explicitly disavowed such theories."

    Who would SAY such things, even if they thought them??
    Everyone has to realize that LDS members who would inexplicably do this are not speaking as LDS, they are speaking as people who themselves have personality issues, have little to no propriety and are lacking in being able to understand or comprehend basic civility and respect for others.

    So while it may be upsetting, its the same as these kinds of people thinking it is fine and acceptable to say other rude or inappropriate things to anyone.....("You're having another baby again so soon? Wow, little ridiculous don't you think?" Why are you waiting til you are 19 to go on a mission--couldn't cut it at 18 huh?" and others I have heard at Church.)

    So uncouth comments to Black members don't really have anything to do with Blacks at all, just to do with the speaker's own inability to understand basic decorum and propriety.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    June 1, 2018 1:39 a.m.

    Unlike the rest of American unity and love do actually exist in The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints. In the Church a man or woman is actually seen as a brother or sister and child of God regardless of skin color.

  • John Wilson Idaho Falls, 00
    May 31, 2018 11:04 p.m.

    Count my wife and I among those who were thrilled to learn about the revelation. It happened exactly one month before we were married. So happy the church is going to honor and celebrate this important change.